March 14, 2014

EPA Recognizes Solid Refuse Fuel as Non-Waste

Solid refuse fuel (SRF) is fuel derived from shredding and dehydrating municipal solid waste (MSW). The processed waste is used as a fuel in an industrial process like a cement kiln or in an energy recovery facility.

Non-waste fuel determinations for nonhazardous secondary materials are made on a case-by-case basis by states or EPA. The agency recently published its determination that SRF produced at a West Virginia facility is a non-waste fuel in accordance with the requirements of §241.3(b)(4). [RO 14838] In making the non-waste fuel determination, the agency stated that the management of the SRF must meet the definition of processing in §241.2. After evaluation, EPA agreed the proposed operations meet that definition and will transform the MSW into a processed, non-waste fuel by significantly improving the fuel characteristics and removing contaminants.

Additionally, after processing, the SRF must meet the legitimacy criteria for fuels set forth in §241.3(d)(1), which include: 1) managing the material as a valuable commodity, 2) producing a material with meaningful heating value and using it as a fuel in a combustion unit, and 3) producing a material containing contaminants at levels comparable to or less than those in traditional fuels that the combustion unit is designed to burn. The agency determined the SRF material meets these criteria.


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.